Rachel Jessie Van Vechten Vedder
From the History of the Valley of the Hudson, River of Destiny, 1609-1930, Volume V, Biographical. Contributed by Jerry Sterrit and transcribed by Arlene Goodwin
Rachel Jessie (Van Vechten) Vedder, historian of the town and village of
Catskill and also for Greene county, has always lived in this part of the state
and in both the paternal and maternal lines represents old and honored families
of New York. Born in Leeds, Greene County, New York, September 29, 1859, she is
a daughter of Luke Kiersted and Nancy (Strong) Van Vechten, the former a native
of Catskill, born August 24, 1817, and the latter of Durham, Greene County, New
York, born July 17, 1818. They were married February 22, 1848, and Mrs. Nancy
Van Vechten died January 20, 1903. The Van Vechtens were originally from Vechte,
near Utrecht, Holland, and the genealogy of the family in that country dates
back to the year 1200. Dirck Van Veghten, the American progenitor of the family,
came to what was then Greenbush, New York, in 1638 in the ship “Arms of
Norway” with his wife, child and two servants.
He was the father of Dirck Teunis Van Veghten, who served as a captain
with the colonial forces in 1686 and 1689. He and his two sons, Johannes and
Teunis Jr., were at Skenesborough. Teunis became a captain in 1702 and in 1713
his commission was renewed. Another Teunis fought in the French and Indian war
of 1746, serving as first lieutenant of his company.
Samuel Van Vechten, the great-grandfather of Mrs. Vedder, was
commissioned captain by Cadwallander Colden in 1770. He was at Ticonderoga and
Fort Edward and was the bearer of important dispatches. Mrs. Vedder’s mother
came of Scotch-English ancestry and was of royal lineage on both sides of the
was descended from Richard Strong, also known as Strahn and Mc Strahn, whose son
John, born in 1605, sailed to America in the ship “Mary and John” in 1630,
and was one of the founders of the town of Dorchester, Massachusetts.
Thomas Strong, son of John and Abigail (Ford) Strong, was born in 1631
and in 1658 was a trooper at Windsor, Connecticut. His grandson, Eliakim Strong,
became a lieutenant and his son, Eliakim Strong, Jr., was also a lieutenant of
Durham, Connecticut, whence they removed to Durham, Greene County, New York, in
a son of Eliakim Strong, Jr., was a soldier in the Revolutionary war.
Jessie Van Vechten pursued her education in the common schools and in Catskill
Academy and has always resided in the vicinity of Leeds.
On the 10th of January, 1884, she was married at Catskill to
Henry Fiero Vedder, a native of Leeds, New York. He was the son of Henry Mosier
and Rachel (Martin) Vedder and a descendant of Aaron Vedder, of Schoharie, New
York. Fraternally Henry F. Vedder was identified with the Independent Order of
Odd Fellows. He passed away November 12, 1915, leaving a widow and two children.
Henry Martin, who married Mary Florence Blakelock and resides in Leeds;
and Mabel Nancy, now Mrs. Stewart W. Parks, of South Leeds.
Vedder has long been a faithful member of the Dutch Reformed Church and figures
prominently in political circles of this part of the state as republican
committeewoman in the district No. 7, town of Catskill. Ion 1926 she organized
On-ti-ora Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, of which she is
now the regent, and on the 7th of February 1929, she aided in forming
and incorporating the Greene County Historical Society. She has been historian
for the town and village of Catskill since 1919 and historian for Greene County
since 1922, through appointment by the board of supervisors, discharging her
duties with thoroughness and ability.
A lifelong resident of Greene county, Mrs. Vedder is well informed upon
matters pertaining to its history and has inherited the fine qualities of a long
line of worthy ancestors adding thereto the interest of her own personality.